The importance of new teacher induction cannot be overestimated. Across Australia, we have a major issue with new teachers dropping out of the profession in as little as 5 years. Currently, our stats tell us that it is around 25% of new teachers that are dropping out. One way to help reduce this drop-out rate is to provide new teachers to your school with a good induction process to help them feel supported and to have a good start to their new career.
According to AITSL the best inductions programs have “practic-focused mentoring” along with targeted professional learning opportunities. These two steps involve mentorship that focuses on classroom activity. The mentor can also be key in helping to identify areas where the new teacher can continue to develop, but it is important to ensure that feedback is constructive and not critical or negative. This mentoring can be provided by one or more experts at the school. The main mentor should be in the same teaching area to ensure support is relevant.
Induction programs are also best when there are lots of observations and reflections by both the new teacher and the mentor. This requires time allocation for both teachers to ensure that this is done well and is not seen as a burden. Furthermore, new teachers should be linked to collaborative networks as soon as possible to help increase their support network.
A thorough teacher induction will focus on four key areas:
- professional practices – pedagogical skills.
- professional identity – choice in pedagogical approach, peer and community relationships.
- wellbeing – understanding the highs and lows of teaching and how to manage anxieties, stress and managing personal demands of the role.
- orientation – understanding the teaching context including legal responsibilities and the school context and culture.